Quora Blog Responses

Can you explain the difference between being assertive, aggressive, and hostile?

Hi we have three ways of behaving, passively, aggressively, or assertively - when in communication with others.

A passive style takes the form of us keeping our views or feelings to ourselves however, eventually they build up like a pressure cooker and we explode. This leads to a loss for us and a win for the other party because of the hostile outcome we created.

An aggressive style of communication takes the form of us expressing our views and not listening to what the other has to say. This is a win for us and a lose for the other party. Hostility again would possibly be the most likely outcome because the other person may not feel understood or heard.

Assertiveness is the only way to go. Its a win/win approach that leads to positive outcomes for all.

One word defines assertiveness and that is RESPECT. Respect for yourself to be heard and respect for you to hear another. This leads to synergy and outcomes we would never have thought possible.

Finally if we give our view or say how we feel and let go of being invested in a particular response, we are less likely to become hostile because we are respecting another's difference.


For years what I thought what held me back were personality traits and couldn’t be helped. Margaret helped me understand how my mind works which enabled me to confront my issues and take steps to progress. I would never have changed my views without being helped to see how my brain is wired u...

John, 45 , Asperger /ADHD client
Oct 15, 2018

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